Penns Manor football comes up short in District 6 quarterfinals
Despite playing with a virus, Penns Manor senior Danny Ferens, a candidate to repeat as an all-stater, had his team in position to pull out Saturday night's District 6 Class A quarterfinal playoff game against Bishop McCort.
Ferens intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the McCort 48 with 1:34 to go.
But McCort's Jordan Spangler returned the favor with an interception in the end zone to seal a 32-29 win for the Crimson Crushers before an overflow crowd at Penns Manor's Pat Corrigan Field.
Ferens rushed for 252 yards on 25 carries and passed for 65 yards in his final game for the Comets.
Bishop McCort (8-3) will host Northern Cambria in the semifinals next weekend at Johnstown's Point Stadium. The Crushers are in the District 6 playoffs for the 15th consecutive season.
Penns Manor, the Heritage Conference champion, concluded its season at 9-2.
Spangler, before his game-clinching interception, had two touchdown receptions.
With the ball on the McCort 31, Ferens was going for the touchdown when Spangler picked him off.
“Jordan Spangler was playing in the deep third as a safety,” Crushers coach Kevin Sheridan said.
“He saw the ball coming out of the corner of his eye. Spangler has a knack of making big plays, but none bigger than that.”
“I'm so proud of these kids,” Penns Manor coach Bill Packer said. “We went down two scores and came back, but unfortunately we had that interception at the end.”
On Penns Manor's first play from scrimmage at its 22, Ferens sidestepped several McCort defenders then raced 78 yards for the Comets' first touchdown.
On the next possession, Ferens directed a 63-yard, 13-play drive that ended with Ferens bursting through the middle of the Crushers' line for his 30th touchdown of the season.
The first Penns Manor touchdown answered a Bishop McCort scoring drive to start the game. The Crushers got on the scoreboard with a 28-yard pass from Zaine Tomkowski to Spangler.
Later, Tomkowski called his own number on fourth-and-goal at the Comets' 2. Tomkowski slithered through the Penns Manor front line for the second Crushers touchdown.
The Bishop McCort offense picked things up in the second half, and Tomkowski threw for 160 of his 211 yards in the final two periods.
Spangler and Ryan Siwy were on the receiving end of Tomkowski's scoring tosses.
“We just tried to shore up a couple of protection schemes,” Sheridan said.
“We knew we were running the ball effectively, and they were bringing their secondary up and pointing a lot of pressure on the line of scrimmage.
“We then knew we had the opportunity to throw.”
Ferens finished the season with 1,806 rushing yards.
Tomkowski enters next weekend's game with 1,643 passing yards, and Spangler has 710 receiving yards.
George Guido is a freelance writer.